She Says… The Big Day

It’s here. The day that I’ve been wishing away since the day Owen was born. The day I put on my heels and head back into work. Just one more day, one more week, one more month with my little guy before reality sets in, please? I have such mixed feelings about today that I don’t even know how to feel.

Let’s start with the positives, shall we? Otherwise I might cry. For one thing, I am incredibly proud of myself for returning to work. I have studied and trained and put a lot of time and effort into building my career; I didn’t get that Masters degree for nothing! Although my job is not “the one” I always dreamed of (yet!), it uses my skills well, and I am good at it. And I am happy that I can maintain that professional, hard-working, strategic-thinking side of myself while still being a great mom. I’m also a little excited to get back to the hustle and bustle of my workday. I used to thrive on waking up early, getting to work early, working my tail off, rushing to the gym, getting my sweat on, and coming home to make dinner and relax with Benjamin. Accomplishing so much every day made me feel like Superwoman. Although it may take a few weeks or a few months to get back into the swing of things, I’m excited to change things up and get some of that let’s-go-get-’em energy back into my day.

I also think daycare will be an incredibly positive experience for Owen. I’ve visited our daycare a few times over the last few months, and each time I was so impressed with how much the teachers love the kids. When I was there last week, a 9 month old was taking his first steps. The teachers were standing around clapping, with tears of joy and pride in their eyes. I know that they will love Owen just as much, and that is a truly wonderful thing. He will get the opportunity to experience diversity and language and social interaction that I couldn’t possibly give him at home. He’ll learn how to nap and eat and play in new places and with new people, helping him become a flexible and easygoing kid.

On the flip side, it breaks my heart to know that I have to drop him off and turn around and walk out the door. I won’t be there when he cries for me. I won’t be there when his face lights up with his big gummy grin and he laughs that adorable little belly laugh. I won’t be the one to wake him up from his naps and cuddle him while he’s all warm in his sleep sack. I won’t be the one nuzzling his head while he drinks his bottle, or breathing in his sweet baby smell while he lays milk-drunk on my shoulder. I will, inevitably, miss out on things.

There are a few things I need to keep reminding myself:

  • It’s only 3 days a week. I’m going to work 4 days a week (taking Mondays off), and Benjamin is going to work 4 days a week (taking Fridays off), so Owen will only be in daycare 3 days a week. So although it feels like I’m going to be missing him so much, it’s really only 3 days a week that he will not be at home. With Mama day and Daddy day and weekends, he’ll be at home more than he’ll be away.
  • For better or for worse, Owen will never remember these days. He will never remember the day I left him at daycare. He will not be scarred for life. By the same token, he will never remember if I give up my career for him and stay home. He just won’t.
  • Children are incredibly resilient. And flexible. Just think of how many different “schedules” he has gone through since he was born 5 short months ago. He will adapt to the new routine quickly and easily (probably more easily than I will!), and will never look back and wish for the good ol’ days.

I’m also feeling an overwhelming sense of thankfulness. I am so thankful that I was able to take such an extended maternity leave. I am thankful that my boss was so flexible and that we were able to swing some time without my paycheck. I’m thankful that Owen is such a calm, sweet, easy baby and that he’s sleeping so well. I’m thankful that I have put all of our breastfeeding issues to bed, and I can return to work unencumbered. I’m thankful that we found a daycare that I feel confident will take great care of Owen. I’m thankful to have a husband who has supported me over the last 5 months as a stay-at-home mom, and is now pushing me forward as I return to work.

And the best part is that we’re doing this transition in stages. Our daycare didn’t have a spot available for Owen until January 17th (even though we signed up when I was 18 weeks PREGNANT!!!), so Benjamin is doing Daddy daycare for the next two weeks to fill in the gap. Although this is kind of inconvenient for Benjamin’s business, I am happy that I don’t have to go back to work on the same day that we put Owen in daycare. At least for the next two weeks, I know he’ll be sticking to his regular routine at home with Daddy. It will also help Owen get used to being away from me, without overwhelming him with daycare right away.

So instead of thinking of this like the apocalypse, I’m going to think of it as just another change in our routine. Another stage. Another hurdle that we’ll both get over in no time. Wish me luck!

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15 responses to “She Says… The Big Day

  1. Good luck with the transition. I thankfully don’t have to make that choice since moving for my husband’s job took me away from my career (plus side is that living in the middle of nowhere means that we can afford for me to stay at home). I’m not sure I’d be as mature and calm as you, so I commend you on your attitude!

    Before the baby, when the dog was my baby, I remember feeling upset when I dropped her off at puppy daycare the 1st time. That seems funny to me now!

  2. Lauren Perley

    I just started baby Hayes in daycare this morning! It is hard. HARD! But, you’re right that everything will be OK. I just looked at all of the other babies and parents dropping kids off and thought “if they can do it, we can too”. We’ll all get through this! Good luck at work today!

  3. You have such a positive outlook on everything. Good luck with this newest transition!

  4. You are an incredibly strong woman who Owen is lucky to have as a mother! I hope I am as strong as you when I go back to work (although I’m already having anxiety attacks about it because my husband is out of state 75% of the time including now).

    Good luck today!!!!

  5. You’re awesome, Kate! It sounds like everything is working out just perfectly. What a great arrangement where you each get to spend a whole day just with Owen….what a blessing!

    Have fun returning to work….while I’m extremely grateful to be able to stay home with my girls, I will admit to being a tad jealous of your arrangement, too. I miss being a mover and shaker….from time to time, anyhow. 😉

    Happy Monday to you!

  6. Good luck! You’re right – easing into the transition will help.

  7. You’re going to do great and so will Owen!

    So nice that Ben will have a Daddy Day, too. 🙂

  8. My little one has been in daycare since she was about 10 weeks and I want to tell you…I honestly think it’s great for her. The DAY she came home, she was making a million more noises than what she had done just the day before.

    And, like you said, the people that work there love their kiddos.

    Also, DO NOT fret for worrying about it. I devoted an entire post to my girls first day at daycare too!! haha

    http://happilyalawmama.blogspot.com/2010/09/her-first-day.html

  9. So I went back to work last week too! I sit here on my pumping break and read you blog about your first day. It will be great. Honestly, I am with you on feeling the superowman buzz and althought I it was hard to leave last week too, I felt this whole new sense oc accomplishment when I came home to my adorable girl, nursed her, cuddled her, played with her and put her to bed…its like the mose complete day EVER! I hope yours goes well too. We start daycare officially on the 17th too (grandma daycore for now 🙂 ) so we will be in the same boat that day too. I look forward to your thoughts on this first day back. Enjoy your successes and then enjoy that darling boy tonight 🙂

  10. Good luck to you and your family! Though what works for every family is a little bit (or a lot bit!) different, I was always very thankful that my mom worked–I was proud of her, and now that I’m older, also see and appreciate the fact that it made her an interesting, dynamic, and very confident woman. It has made her a great role model, even though we don’t yet have children. Your little one is very fortnate to have the parents he does.

  11. Good luck today! I got a job offer today and it’s bittersweet– yes, we need the money and the adult interaction will be enjoyed, but am I ready to leave Liam? Definitely not. Luckily, the job is part time and my childcare is my parents. Be sure to post how today went!

  12. I went back to work today as a teacher after only 12 weeks off with my baby girl! Your confident words make me feel a tad better! While I missed my kiddos at school while I was away it was nothing compared to how much I missed my little Bailey all day! I cried the moment I pulled in to the parking lot. I just kept thinking she will wonder where I am when she wakes up! ( she probably didn’t even notice) Teaching is one of the best jobs for having children but your set up sounds pretty sweet to me!

  13. Good luck! You have such a great attitude, though, I’m sure you won’t need it.
    The social interaction for both of you will be great.

  14. What a fantastic perspective you have! It is HARD, but you are looking at it the right way and I think that’s half the battle! Good luck!

  15. hope you had a great first day! I went back about 4 weeks ago and you are going to miss him like crazy but you will also feel so good about your busy day and being with adults. You will cherish the time you do have with Owen and not get as frustrated with the fussy moments. (At least that’s what i’m finding) I love my weekends with my baby girl and I get sooo excited at the end of the day to see her.

    The 3-days a week thing is perfect! We have a similar setup where my husband can be home once a week w/baby and since I teach, I get so many Mondays offs, and random days here and there. I have to say, I love how she gets a day w/daddy.

    You will be great. I feel guilty, yes, but I know I am doing what’s best for my family. We need the money but I know I need the sanity of working as well. Hang in there!

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